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Happy New Year Everyone

Obviously I haven’t made any new year resolutions as I find they get lost in the January rush to finish tax returns. Anyway, if something is worth doing you should start when you think about it not wait for an arbitrary date.

I do have some goals for 2018, but not too many and they are not necessarily defined. Some goals are fixed, all or nothing, (I want to visit Italy this year) so they can be accomplished by simply booking a holiday and remembering to turn up at the airport.

The second sort is to to do more of something (painting, hill walking etc) and a third is either improve or get to a certain level of something (money, ability, whatever). Only the last is really quantifiable and even then there are good reasons for not actually putting a target on it.

A lot of people get demoralized when things don’t go to plan even though they are improving especially if your results are going up and down. And when you can’t easily quantify a goal. Learning a language for instance. Difficult to measure changes on a small scale and hard to check on ability level. I know I can speak French reasonable well but exactly how well. I can’t just get on a scale every morning like I was checking my weight.

I don’t want to put numbers to things in case it all gets a bit anal. I don’t like to have a chart of how close I am to a goal or in fact obsess about it at all. Rather I know where I want to be going and then decide an achievable amount of effort to commit to it. Then work out what the process is and stick to that.

You can’t control results but you CAN control processes. Rather than deciding to lose X kg of fat you can commit to eating 500 less calories per day and perhaps doing 15 minutes of exercise. That gives a mini daily goal if you like. Once you start you can tick of an achievement every day, however you find it most motivating (everyone is different).

And if you do exercise try short bursts (assuming you are fit enough) or “resistance training” (using weights) instead of long jogs or pounding the treadmill (bad for your joints).

No need to go to a gym. Check out BBC’s “Trust me I’m a doctor” website for tips on weight training with household items and don’t overdo it.

Google “trust me i’m a doctor strength training” and check out series 4 episode 1.

One thing that is important is to make sure you are always improving. Thirty minutes a day spent doing something you find easy isn’t going to help as much as doing something you find a challenge. Nor is it as satisfying.

Whatever you choose to do this year, I hope it’s a good one for you.

Best wishes